Thieves target cars in Encino neighborhood to steal their tires – NBC Los Angeles

Residents of an Encino neighborhood are the latest victims of wheel thefts. 

Caroline Fratacci found her daughter’s Honda right where she had parked it across the street, but it was missing all four of its wheels. 

In disbelief, Fratacci asked her daughter if her friends were playing a prank. “She goes, ‘That cannot be my friends — that’s, like, a crime,’” Fratacci said. 

This crime will cost the Frataccis a $500 deductible and their sense of security in her family’s neighborhood east of White Oak Avenue. 

Fratacci said she has lived in Los Angeles for 24 years and had yet to see anything like what she experienced. 

Encino resident Kristen Kabel lives west of Balboa Boulevard. Kabel’s Tesla was on the street just a few days before Fratacci’s daughter’s wheels were stolen. 

“All four of my wheels disappeared,” Kabel said. “Gone — completely gone.”

All Teslas are outfitted with elaborate alarm and camera systems. For example, the “sentry” mode will activate loud music if the car is broken into. Even the slightest motion will prompt the cameras to begin recording.

“I didn’t have mine on because we’re in a pretty safe neighborhood,” Kabel said. “We’ve never seemed to use it before.”

Fratacci and Kabel met when they uploaded details of the crimes to neighborhood watch apps and began to note similarities. 

Both cars were left without wheels, and propped up on plastic soda bottle palettes. The same situation occurred in at least one other location, and Ring videos from neighbors — while somewhat unclear — seem to show one person moving around in the early morning darkness. 

“He was driving a small black Sedan,” Fratacci said. “So maybe he’s doing just one car per night? I don’t know.”

What Fratacci does know is that her daughter’s car’s new wheels will include wheel-locking lug nuts. 

Similarly, Kabel installed some on her Tesla — and will leave its alarm system on moving forward. 

According to the Los Angeles Police Department’s CompStat site, motor vehicle theft is up almost 14% in the West Valley overall compared to 2023.

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